Packers suffered and embarrassing loss, not once but twice last year at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. Both losses were tough, but the second one effectively squashed any hopes the Packers had of making it to the Super Bowl. Needless to say, the Packer nation is not eager to see a repeat of last years’ failures. The Packers need to do several things in order to keep the 49ers from shredding them again.
First and most obviously, contain Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore. Kaepernick shredded the Packers secondary that second game in January and made them look sloppy and unprepared. Frank Gore racked up over 100 rushing yards both times the teams played each other. Packers cannot allow this to happen again and need to come out hard and fast and keep Kaepernick off balance and out of rhythm. Also, running straight up the middle is a favorite play for the 49ers and Packers defensive lineman need to hold firm and not let Gore break free. Containing both Kaepernick and Frank Gore will strip away the 49ers ability to control the clock and could pay huge dividends in the fourth quarter.
Secondly, the offense needs to come out hard and fast and set the tone of the game. Rodgers must utilize all of his weapons and keep the 49ers defense off balance and guessing. Packers will also be playing on the 49ers home turf. It is vital that they establish themselves immediately and not let the extra stress of playing away get them out of focus.
Thirdly, the 49ers have not shied away from talking up this game. It would be easy, especially with being beaten so badly to want to come out and hit the 49ers hard, but Packers cannot give into the temptation. Instead they need to remain fundamentally strong and consistent and wait for the 49ers to make a mistake. The Packers cannot afford to fall victim to the hype. Instead they must remain solid and unforgiving. They are capable of beating the 49ers, but they just need to remain focused on one play at a time.
The game on Sunday will no doubt be exciting considering last season and that no team wants to lose their season opener. Packers will undoubtedly be looking to redeem themselves as well. The Packers must contain Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore, come out hard and fast to establish the tempo and not let their desire to win out weigh playing a solid ball game for four quarters. If they accomplish all that, 49ers will be 0-1.
By Catherine Solin